Tuesday, December 4, 2012

John 1:12

“But to all who received him, he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12).

One finds this verse in the Christmas liturgy in which we meditate on the coming of God on earth.

In the Christmas liturgy the readings emphasize that God Himself reveals Himself, He Himself gives Himself to us, entering into our lives, He brings forth the source of our future from the base of our lives.

Since He united Himself to us, He became radically God-with-us and God-for-us; by now His reign has definitively begun. The sun no longer illuminates beyond the horizon of only a few stars that bear witness to Him, but goes beyond the line of the horizon; it rises, it wants that it might be full day.

So what happens to me, for you, for every man?

We can walk and live in the light of God, in the present and eternal light of God. “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (Jn 1:9)! With these words, Jesus means to tell us that God has radically changed His position with regard to our lives, Who breaks in this life of ours, and with Him the future passes into a durable present, which no fear and no insecurity will be able to put in doubt.

The Source of the future makes itself present; God arises and from the periphery He comes to the center of our life.

But to be able to “become children of God” we must do our part. One reads in the two verses before this verse:
“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His Own home, and His own people received Him not” (Jn 1:10-11).

Relativism, according to Pope Benedict XVI, is "the most profound difficulty of our time." (http://popebenedictxviblog.blogspot.it/2005_05_01_archive.html).

In his homily at the Mass preceding the conclave that quickly elected him Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger said: “How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. WE ARE BUILDING A DICTATORSHIP OF RELATIVISM that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.” (http://www.vatican.va/gpII/documents/homily-pro-eligendo-pontifice_20050418_en.html; http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/colson_relativism_may05.asp).

I believe that there are a great number of people who are in the illusion of being OK with their own conscience, or according to the standards of the world, or according to the common thought (“everybody does it”), or according to the criteria of the devil, BUT NOT ACCORDING TO THE CRITERIA OF GOD, that is, according to THE TRUTH! This is the fundamental deception of Satan from the beginning of mankind and always (Gen 3:4-5)! We human beings are very capable and astute in deceiving ourselves, WILLFULLY, and then we forget about it so easily! This is the great trap of today for countless souls. Few people go to confession today. When we die, Jesus will ask us if we sought the truth in His revelation in Sacred Scripture interpreted by His Church, or if we decided and determined ourselves, alone (like little gods!), the truth. The other day a man who never goes to Mass said to me in his store: “I am totally ok” (“Io sono apposto”). And I asked him: “According to who?” For him, totally immersed in relativism, there is only one “who”; himself. God, the Bible, the Church have nothing to do with his conviction: “I am totally ok”! BUT WHEN HE DIES, WHO WILL DECIDE IF HE IS TOTALLY OK OR NOT?

In this period of Christmas let us spend more time with Him, Who loves us more that everyone else, with Baby Jesus, before the Tabernacle, in order to let this Baby speak to our hearts, to let His graces slowly penetrate and make soft our hearts in order to be able to trust in Him and His holy Will even if we must change our lives and suffer with Jesus on the cross. This Baby loves us much more than we love ourselves if only we let Him by trusting Him instead of our own intelligence and our own human wisdom. Let us ask help from this Baby’s Mother who leads us sweetly with much love to her Child and helps us to become like her Son. In this way we can truly “become children of God”!

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An Experience of Life:

On 28 November I was in Abidjan with my husband, who was in need of medical check-ups, while our children were still in Man (Ivory Coast). That night the city was taken by the rebels. As soon as we found out, we called the boys trapped there (the phone was still working), urging them to be very careful and to follow the recommendations that we were giving them. That same night, however, four rebels broke into our home. After robbing our children of the little money they had and of their cell phones, they wanted to recruit by force our Jean-Louis who has a physique of an athlete. In vain did the brothers begged them to leave him alone.

Suddenly, inexplicably, the leader of the rebels gave up his idea, and while he was leaving the house he whispered in the ear of our eldest daughter, “Get out of here as quickly as possible: this time they are letting your brother go, but they will return tomorrow.” Then he indicated the path to take.

It might be a trap? God only knew. In any case, the boys left at the break of dawn. With very little money, they walked 45 kilometers before coming to a town from which to continue the trip on a truck. But the price of transport, given the situation, had tripled. An unknown man invited them to get in the truck while paying their fare; despite the insistence of the boys he did not want to give them his address so that they could later reimburse him.

Having arrived at Duokoué, our children found shelter from a family also unknown. They were refreshed, they washed themselves and were accompanied to the station to take a bus to Abidjan.

Upon their arrival in Abidjan, my husband and I cried seeing the terrible condition of our boys, but the thing that struck them more was the experience of the love of God. The next day we took them to Dabou, to their uncle’s place. The first thing that Jean-Louis asked was where he could find a church. “Do you know, Dad – he confided - your God is really powerful!” It was he who, although baptized, but not yet having strong roots in the faith, had come to doubt in God’s existence.

Christine, Ivory Coast

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